What is history-?
Although history commonly used to refer to events which happened earlier in time, but “history” in academic study is either the study of the past or the product of our attempts to understand the past, rather than the past itself
Indian History-
The history of India begins with human settlement that has been confirmed to over 9000 years ago in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. However, evidence of human activity shows the presence of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago in Indian subcontinent
Stone Age-
Generally Stone Age/Ice Age is divided into following 3 eras-
  1. Paleolithic Period/Era-
The term Paleolithic was coined by archaeologist John Lubbock in 1865. It derives from Greek literally meaning “Old age of the stone” or “Old Stone Age.” This period is also known as Ice Age. The Paleolithic is characterized by the use of knapped stone tools or objects found in nature. Man during this period was essentially a food gatherer. He was totally dependent on nature for his food supply requirement that contains animals and edible plants. In course of time he learnt to control fire which helped in improving the pattern of living in many ways. Men were organized in small wandering groups known as Bands. It was towards the end of the Paleolithic period that the modern human being (Homo sapiens) first appeared around 36,000 BC. Robert Bruce foot was the first person to discover a Paleolithic site in India in 1863. The tools were usually made of hard rock ‘quartzite’ and therefore Paleolithic man in India is also called “Quartzite Man.” Few important sites of this era in India are Kashmir Valley, Sohan Valley, Potwar region and Luni in Rajasthan. The Paleolithic era is followed by the Mesolithic
  1. Mesolithic Period/Era-
Mesolithic literally means “Middle Stone Age.” It was a period in the development of human technology in between the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age and the Neolithic or New Stone Age. There was rise in temperature and the climate became warm and dry. The climatic changes affected human life and brought about changes in fauna and flora. The technology of producing tools also underwent change and the small stone tools were used. Man was predominantly in hunting/gathering stage but there was shift in the pattern of hunting from big game to small game hunting and to fishing and fowling. Man started to live in bigger groups called Tribes. Bagor (Rajasthan) on the river Kothari is the largest Mesolithic site in India. Chotanagpur Plateau and Garo Hills are also counted in prominent Mesolithic sites
  1. Neolithic Period/Era-
It is considered as last phase of Stone Age. This phase refers to transition in land use. Food gathering and hunting societies started to settle in village and cultivation became prime work in their life. The Neolithic is not a specific chronological period, but rather a suite of behavioral and cultural characteristics. Stone Age was followed by Bronze/Copper Age
Bronze/Copper Age [Chalcolithic Phase]-
In this phase human being discovered copper and used it for making tools and for other known purposes. This phase refers to a process of cultural development and transmission of ideas on small scale. Indus valley civilization flourished on bank of Indus in North-West Asia is considered as 1st and most important civilization in South-Asian History
Indus valley civilization [2500 BC-1500 BC]-
The sensational discoveries made at Harappa in West Punjab and Mohenjodaro in Sind has revolutionized idea of ancient Indian history. Indus valley civilization of India is even superior to that of Mesopotamia and Egypt. The Indus-Valley people were well-acquainted with the use both of cotton and wool. The numerous specimens of pottery, seals, bracelets etc reveal that arts and crafts flourished. The people lived a very comfortable life in well built houses and baths. The streets were all well planned and drains regularly drained out. It was essentially urban civilization. The merchant class contributed to the general prosperity and trade contacts seem to have been established with the Sumerian [Bahrain] and Mesopotamian [Iraq] civilization of those times. Sir John Marshall the eminent Indologist came up with name of this civilization as Indus valley because it was settled around river Indus
Major Sites/cities-
  • Harappa-
This is 1st discovered site of Indus valley by eminent Indologist Sir John Marshall in 1921 at the bank on Ravi. The Indus civilization was originally called Harappan civilization after this site. A grain house and proof of water transportation founded at this site
  • Mohenjodaro [Maut ka      Tila]-
Mohenjodaro (Sind) is situated on the right bank of the Indus. This city was discovered by Mr. Rakhal Das Bennerji in 1922. Mohenjodaro is the largest of all the Indus cities and has a population estimated to between 41,000 and 35,000. The Great Bath place of Mohenjodaro is the most important public place measuring 39 feet (length) x 23 feet (breadth) x 8 feet (depth). Located at the centre of the citadel it is remarkable for beautiful brick work. Its floor is made of burnt bricks set in gypsum and mortar. Archeologist Wheeler discovered a monumental like temple and administrative units.
  • Chanhudaro- [Mackay 1925]
Chanhudaro lies on the left bank of the Indus about 130 km south of Mohenjodaro. No citadel had been discovered here so this is the only exceptional site in this case. A small pot was discovered at Chanhudaro which was probably an inkpot. Harappan pottery is bright or dark red and is uniformly sturdy and well baked
  • Kalibanga-
Kalibanga (Rajasthan) was on the banks of the river Ghaggar which dried up centuries ago. It is one of two Indus cities which have both proto-Harappan and Harappan cultural phases. In its proto-Harappan phase the fields were ploughed. But in the Harappan phase they were not ploughed but dug up. It is discovered by Amalanand Ghosh in 1951.
Traces of the remains of massive brick walls around both the citadel and the lower town have been discovered here. Archaeologists discovered two platforms with fire altar suggesting the practice of cult of sacrifice. Leg bone of elephant was also found at Kalibanga
  • Lothal-
It was only Indus site with an artificial brick dockyard. It must have served as the main seaport of the Indus people. Lothal has evidence for the earliest cultivation of rice (1800 BC). The only other Indus site where rice husk has been found is Rangpur near Ahmadabad. Lothal is at the head of the Gulf of Cambay. Fire altars indicating the probable existence of a fire cult have been found. Evidence for the use of horse comes from a doubtful terracotta figurine of a horse. Impressions of cloth are noticeable on some of the sealing found here. This site was discovered by S.R. Rao in 1954.
  • Banawali-
Banawali (Haryana) was situated on the banks of the now extinct Saraswati River. It has evidence of having both proto Harappan and Harappan cultural phases. It shares almost all the common features of Indus cities such as town planning, grid system, drainage system and the like. Site discovered by R.S. Bisht in 1973.
  • Surkotada-
Surkotada (Gujarat) is at the head of the Rann of Kutch. It is the only Indus site where the remains of a horse have actually been found. It must have been another port city though no docking facilities as at Lothal have been found here
  • Dholavira-
Dholavira (Gujarat) excavated is in the Kutch district. It is the latest Indus city discovered in India and also one of the largest sites of the civilization. The excavation work was carried by R.S Bisht and his team in 1990-91. It shares almost all the common features of Indus cities such as town planning, grid pattern, drainage system and elaborates fortification. The unique feature of this site is its division in three sections as compare to two parts in other sites. J.P. Joshi in 1967-68 had a pivotal contribution in discovery of this site
Town Planning in Indus civilization-
The most significant characteristic feature of the Harappan Civilization was its urbanization. The cities show evidence of an advanced sense of planning and organization. Each city was divided into the citadel area where the essential institutions of civic and religious life were located and the residential area where the urban population lived. In the citadel the most impressive buildings were the granaries which were store -houses. The town was extremely well planned. The street ran straight and at right angles to each other following the grid system. The rectangular town planning was unique to the Harappan and was not known in Mesopotamia or Egypt. The streets were very wide and the houses built of burnt bricks lined both sides of the street. In Egypt and Mesopotamia dried or baked bricks were used. The houses were of varying sizes which suggest class differences in Harappan society. A well laid drainage system kept the cities clean
Trade with neighboring civilizations like Mesopotamia and Sumerian was in vogue. There was prevailed barter system of exchange but various kind of seals also used for same purpose. Lothal was main port at that time. The Harappan cultivated wheat and barley the two main food crops. Peas and dates were also grown. In addition sesame and mustard were grown and used for oil. However the people cultivated rice as early as 1800 BC in Lothal. The Harappan’s were the earliest people to grow cotton. Irrigation depended on the irregular flooding of the rivers of Punjab and Sind.
The various occupations in which people were engaged spanned a wide range. Spinning and weaving of cotton and wool. Goldsmiths made jewellery of silver, gold and precious stones and metal workers made tools and implements in copper and bronze
** Copper was main metal used by people because iron was not known to them at that time
***Main types of seals are the square type with a carved animal and inscription and rectangular type with inscription only
***Cow and Lion were not known. Ragi was also not known to the Indus people
Clay figures of the Mother Goddess as the symbol of fertility have been found- these were worshipped by the people. A seated figure of a male god carved on a small stone seal was also found. The seal immediately brings to our mind the traditional image of Pasupati Mahadev. Certain trees seem to have been treated as sacred such as pipal. They also held the bull sacred
Script and Languages-
Harappan script is regarded as pictographic since its signs represent birds, fish, varieties of the human form etc. This script is not deciphered yet. The language of the Harappan’s is still unknown and must remain so until the script is read
Decline of civilization-
Historians have different opinions regarding the causes of the decay and disappearance of the Harappan culture. Historians are of the view that the decline of the Indus Civilization was not the result of a single event; it was a slow decline and a result of combination of factors like natural disaster and Aryan invasion etc
Iron Age [1000 BC- 100 BC]-
In this phase human being discovered iron and used it for making tools and for other known purposes. On the basis of available radiocarbon dates it was suggested that iron working might have begun in Malwa {M.P.} around 1100 BC. After that various communities became familiar with wide use of iron
Vedic Period [1500 BC-600 BC]-
The Harappan civilization was followed by Vedic or Rig-Vedic culture which was completely opposite to it. The Vedic culture was founded by the Aryans. They were immigrants and arrived in India between 2000 and 1500 BC. The origin of the Aryans is still an unsettled affair. Historians have following different views on the origin and migration of Aryans to India-
  • Central Asia Theory-
Aryans originally lived in Central Asia. This theory was propounded by Prof Max Muller a German scholar of comparative languages. He stated that the ancestors of the Indians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Germans and the Celts must have lived together originally
  • Arctic      Theory-
This theory was put forwarded by Bal Gangadhar Tilak.  Tilak in his book ‘Arctic Home in the Vedas’ opined that the original home of the Aryans was a place of extreme cold. The Vedas refer to days and nights lasting for 6 months which are found in Arctic region
  • Sapt-Sindhu Theory-
According to the eminent historians A C Das and K M Munshi the Aryans originally belonged to the Sapt-Sindhu or Punjab. This point of view was put forward by A C Das in his book Rig Vedic India. He says that all the plants, rivers, crops and animals mentioned in Rig-Veda and other ancient books were found in ancient Punjab. The geographical conditions in Rig-Veda points out to this region. But this theory is not convincing. If the Aryans had been indigenous inhabitants of the Sapt Sindhu area there would have been no need for them to desert such a fertile area and go to other parts. Aryans were unaware of animals such as elephant and lion which were found mainly in India. This proves that Aryans were foreigners.
  • Tibetan Theory-
According to Swami Dayanand Saraswati the original home of the Aryans was Tibet. This view has been expounded by them in the Satyartha Prakash. According to him Aryans worshipped the sun and fire as it was extremely cold in Tibet. All the trees and animals mentioned in the Rig Veda were found in Tibet.
  • South-East European      Theory-
The theory generally accepted these days is that the original home of the Aryan was in south-east Europe. According to MacDonnell the common trees like the oak, the birch and the willow and the common animals like the horse and the cow with which the ancestors of the Aryans were familiar could in those days be found only in southern Europe. This theory is also disputed by some western scholars
It is believed that before the coming of the Aryans in India the greater part of northern and north-western India was inhabited by a group of people known as Dravidians. They later migrated to southward direction of India
Some notable points-
  • There is no trace of totemism (clan associated      with a particular animal or plant) and animal worship
  • The      first three Vedas – Rig, Sam and Yajur Veda are collectively      known as Trayi
  • There      were as many as 33 gods. Pushan was considered as      god of Shudras
  • No Sati and child marriage customs even widow remarriage was allowed
Indian Freedom Struggle at a Quick Glance-
  • Foundation      of INC in 1885 at Bombay by AO Hume as “Safety Valve” with 72 delegates
  • The      period between 1885 to 1905 belongs to Moderates as they dominated its      goals, objectives, working and principles
  • 1st Session was presided by WC Banerjee
  • 3rd Session of 1887 was presided by 1st Muslim President i.e.      Tayabji
  • Under the leadership of William Digby, the      Congress opened a branch in England in1888 and started publishing a      magazine called ‘India’
  • 1st time National Song was      sung in the Calcutta Session (1896) of INC. i.e., Vande Mataram
  • On 19 July 1905 the      Government of India formally proposed      the partition of Bengal. According to this proposal Chittagong, Rajshahi and Dacca      were merged with Assam to form the new province. Curzon announced the partition of Bengal on 16      October 1905
  • Muslim      League was established in 1906 by Aga Khan
  • In      1907 Surat Session witnessed open clash between Moderates and Extremists,      that lead split of congress 4 next 10 years
  • Morley-Minto      Reform came in 1909 which introduce separate representation for Muslim      Community
  • Partition      of Bengal restored in 1911 and Capital of British Empire transferred to      Delhi from Calcutta
  • 1st time National Anthem (Jana Gana      Mana) was sung in Calcutta session (1911) of INC
  • Gandhi      ji returned to India on 9th Jan 1915 from South Africa, which      is celebrated as NRI day in India these days
  • 1st Joint Session of Congress and      Muslim League held at Lucknow (1916) known as Lukhnow Pact. Here Moderates      and Extremists became united once again
  • The annual session of Congress in 1917 was      presided by Annie Besant in form of 1st Woman President of INC
  • Rowlett Act came in 1919 along with Jaliawala Bagh Massacre
  • The      word Satyagraha was used for the first time in Anti Rowlett agitation
  • Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms also      came in 1919 which introduce Diarchy at provinces
  • Simon Commission came to India      in 1928. Clement Attlee      was a member of Simon Commission who subsequently became the British Prime      Minister and later was to oversee the granting of independence to India      & Pakistan in 1947
  • Non-Cooperation movement      started in 1920 under leadership of Gandhi ji
  • A group of Industrialist had started anti-non-cooperation      association in 1920 Purushottama      Das Thakur Das was prominent. Others were Jamnadas Dwarkadas and Setalved
  • Chauri Chaura incident and      Non-Cooperation was suspended by Gandhi
  • During Ahmadabad Session of INC (1921), C. R.      Das was elected its President but Azamal Khan presided over the session      because C.R. Das was in prison
  • C.R. Das and Motilal Nehru organized Swaraj      Party in 1922 due to failure of Non-Cooperation Movement
  • During its Delhi session (1923) INC decided to      establish All India Khadi Board
  • Only session presided over by Gandhi – Belgaum      (1924)
  • Sarojini Naidu became 1st Indian woman      president of congress by presiding annual session of 1925
  • Complete Independence/Puran Swaraj was demand      for the first time in Congress Session of 1929 at Lahore
  • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was the youngest      president of INC
  • LAL, BAL, PAL & Aurobindo Ghosh were well      known Extremists
  • Sir Saiyyid      Ahmed Khan was founder of Aligarh National Movement. He      brought out a paper with the title of the “Loyal Muhammadans of India.” In 1875 he found the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College at      Aligarh, which later grew into the Aligarh Muslim University in 1920. William Graham wrote in      the biography of Sir Saiyyid Ahmad Khan. He also founded the ‘Patriotic      Association’ with the assistance of Raja Shivprasad of Banaras. He brought      out an Urdu Paper with the title of “Tahaib-al-Akhlaq”
  • Deoband Movement was      founded by Maulana Hussian Ahmad and Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad was      associated with it. It was represented by Mohammad Qasim Nanautavi      (1832-1880) and Rashid Ahamd Gangohi (1828-1916). Found the ‘Dar-ul-Ulema’      madarsa at Deoband
  • Wahabi Movement was started      by Shah Walliullah
  • Ahmadia movement by      Mirza Gulam Ahmad
  • Ahrar movement by      Mula Mohammad Ali in 1910
  • The Indian House had been founded by Shyamji      Krishna Verma
  • In Bengal an organization by the name of      Anushilan Samiti was founded. Birandra Kumar Ghose and Bhupendra Nath      Dutta [Younger Brother of Swami Vivekananda] had started the newspaper      “Yugantar” in 1906
  • Lala Hardayal (1884-1938) had played an      important role in the Gadar Movement. He founded Gadar Party along with      Sohar Singh Bakhna in 1913 at San Francisco in North America and brought      out a Urdu and Gurumukhi  weekly viz Gadar
  • It was Lokmanya Tilak who had set up a Home      Rule League at Pune in April 1916. Both Annie Besant and Tilak had agreed      to conduct this movement in cooperation with each other
  • In 1887, Gandhi went to England for higher      education and returned to India in 1892 after becoming a Barrister
  • In 1893 he went to South Africa – for a year –      spent twenty two years in that country
  • He returned to India on 9th January      1915 – NRI Day
  • Gandhi recorded his initial thoughts in 1909      in Hind Swaraj
  • Gandhi began his experiments with Satyagraha –      Champaran in Bihar in 1917 – Indigo Planters. Committee of enquiry of      which Mahatma Gandhi himself was made a member
  • In 1918 the mill workers of Ahmadabad got into      dispute – 35 Percent increases. He established Ahmadabad Mill Workers      Association. 1st time on fast
  • Gopal Krishna Gokhale as his political Guru      (mentor) and he was very much impressed by work of Leo Tolstoy
  • On 30th March 1919, He      launched his first nationwide hartal against Rowlett Act which was called      Black Law [empowered arrest without reasons]
  • Jaliawala Bag massacre [13th April      1919] followed by Hunter Commission [Submit report in 1920 and declared      General Dyer as “the defender of the British Empire.”
  • Rabindranath Tagore      renounced knight hood titles as a mark of protest
  • Khilafat Movement      was started just after the finishing of WW-I. Sultan of      Turkey was regarded as the Caliph or the religious head of the Muslims all      over the worlds – a movement to express the Muslim support for the Caliph      of Turkey against the allied powers, particularly Britain was the main      objective of Khilafat movement. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr. M.A. Ansari,      Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew, Maulavi Abdulbari (Lukhnow), Hakin Ajmal Khan and      the Ali brothers were the prominent leaders of this movement. All India      Khilafat Conference was held in 1919 and in March 1920, a committee under the leadership of      Maulana Shuakat Ali and Mohammad Ali was also sent to England. British      Government – signed Treaty of Tibers on 10 August 1920 – Turkey was      partitioned – Sultan was made a prisoner and sent to Constantinople. On 1,      August 1920, in a communication to the governor General, Mahatma Gandhi      announced his plan to begin non-cooperation with the Government as a      sequel to the Rowlett Act, Jaliawala Bagh massacre and the Khilafat      movement. Gandhi’s plan was approved by the Indian national congress in a      special session at Calcutta in December 1920
  • Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Annie Besant and Bipin      Chandra Pal were not in agreement with the congress declaration of      non-cooperation and, thus they left the Congress. Later in 1922, Khilafat      meeting in Malabar incited so much of communal feelings among the Muslims      peasants (The Moplah) that it took an anti-Hindu turn in July 1921 – Moplah rebellion followed by Chauri      Chaura incident in 1922. Gandhi announced the suspension of the movement.      C. R. Das and Motilal Nehru left congress to form “Swaraj Party.”
  • Failure of Non-Cooperation Movement yield      Revolutionary movement by Youngsters
  • On 9, August 1925 when the money sent by the      government from Saharanpur to Lucknow by train was looted at the      Kakori railway station. In December 1927, on the charges of conspiracy,      *Ram Prasad Bismil, Rajendra Lahiri, Roshan singh and **Ashfaqulla Kahn      were hanged
  • *Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil occupies a special      place. He published book with the title ‘How did America get Freedom’ and      a pamphlet with the heading ‘A Message for the countrymen’
  • **Ashfaqulla Khan was the first Muslim      revolutionary of India to be hanged for the sake of the country’s freedom
  • Secretary of State, Lord Birkenhead, while delivering a speech on the floor of      the British Parliament challenged the Indians to produce a Constitution
  • Congress took the challenge and Report      published by this Committee in July 1928 came to be known as the ‘Nehru Report’
  • Muslim League – Central Sikh League, Sardar      Kharak Singh rejected Nehru Report and Jinnah, thereafter convened an All      Indian conference of the Muslims where he drew up a list of fourteen point      demand
  • Gandhi reached the coast of Dandi on 5 April      1930 after marching a distance of 200 miles with 78 handpicked followers      and on 6 April formally launched the Civil Disobedience Movement by      breaking the salt laws known as Dandi March
  • Many Muslims kept themselves aloof from this      movement – northwest Frontier Province an organization of Khudai      Khidmatgar (Servants of God) was formed under the leadership of Khan Abdul      Ghaffar Khan. Most of the volunteers donned red clothes, because of which      they came to be known as the Red Shirts. The Khudai Khidmatgar accepted the leadership of Mahatma      Gandhi and participated in the movement in full measures
  • On 8 March 1931 the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was      signed. As per this pact Gandhi agreed to suspend the Civil Disobedience      Movement and participate in the Second Round Table conference but most of      the leaders did not like this pact
  • On 16 August 1932, British Prime Minister      Ramsay Macdonald made an announcement,      which came to be as the ‘Communal      Award’
  • Gandhi protested against the Award and went on      a fast unto death in the Yerawada      jail on 20 September 1932
  • Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Madan Mohan Malaviya,      Ghan Shyam Das Birla, C. Rajagopalachari and Dr. Ambedkar gathered at Pune      and hammered out an agreement with the consent of Gandhi and Dr. Ambedkar.      This agreement came to be called as the ‘Poona Pact’ British Government also approved of it
  • After 3rd round of Round conference      in March 1933, the British Government issued a White Paper, which became      the basis for the enactment of the Government of India Act, 1935

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